A Good Food Guide to Perth
Hungry for a memorable meal? You’ve come to the right place.
Guy Grossi said it best. When the celebrated restaurateur was seeking a location for his latest dining venture, Western Australia was, he declared, “the obvious choice”. He’s not alone in his thinking: talent and tastebuds are flocking to WA in droves. Sought-after produce, like Manjimup truffles and freshwater marron, has generated international demand from the world’s most acclaimed restaurants while flagship food festival, Margaret River Gourmet Escape, attracts globally-renowned chefs like Nigella Lawson and Heston Blumenthal every year.
Meanwhile, a new breed of restaurants – like Grossi’s new fine diner – are sweeping national awards ceremonies, taking out gongs previously reserved for the institutions of Sydney and Melbourne. There’s no denying it, WA’s food scene is hotter than ever right now – and these Perth restaurants are the hottest of the lot. Featured in the latest edition of the Good Food Guide (Australia’s version of the Michelin Guide), they’re among the nation’s most sought-after dining experiences right now. Which will you visit?
Italian restaurants are a dime a dozen in Australia, mainly thanks to the large migrant population established in the early 1900s. (This helps explain Australia’s deeply ingrained coffee culture.) So when a prominent Australian food critic like Rob Broadfield compares your carbonara to “the Holy Grail”, you’re onto a winner.
Perth’s newest fine diner, Garum – by the aforementioned Grossi – might have a menu informed by ancient Rome (the name itself, ‘garum’ refers to a traditional Roman fish sauce), but the experience is upmarket, modern and very location-specific. Housed in one of Perth’s most beautiful heritage buildings, Garum serves up WA’s typically beautiful produce in the light-splashed, cathedral-like Hibernian Hall.
Add a locally-leaning wine list – married with a few of Italy’s best picks – and a booking upstairs at the new Westin Perth hotel and presto: you’ve found Perth’s perfect night out.
Wildflower’s location, perched atop the thoughtfully restored heritage State Buildings in Perth’s centre, serves as an apt analogy for the restaurant’s undisputed reign over WA fine dining. A philosophy grounded in the six indigenous seasons of Western Australia sees a uniquely educational food experience on offer, where the undisputed star is the exceptional native produce of the state.
Gaze over the city and explore the surrounds via its flavours; many of the menu’s bush foods are personally foraged by executive chef Jed Gerrard. His honey is also harvested directly from the rooftop.
Hot tip: don’t come to Long Chim for peace and quiet. The extroverted hotspot in the basement of Perth’s State Buildings is as atmospheric as the Bangkok streets from which it derives its culinary inspiration – and the ideal setting in which to enjoy the flavourful antics of World’s 50 Best Restaurants chef David Thompson.
No reservation? Even most locals don’t know that you can skip the waitlist and pull up a pew at the bar to access the full Long Chim menu. Order from the profoundly refreshing cocktail list by James Connolly – Perth’s bartending kingpin – while you wait.
Is it a wine bar, wine store, cellar door or something more? Lalla Rookh might be best known for championing renegade winemaking philosophies, but vino is only half the story at this specialist shop-slash-restaurant-slash-wine bar. Seat yourself at the bar and let staff spoil you with the restaurant’s blessedly comforting Italian fare, which typically centres around silky, hand-cut pastas and richly roasted meats.
Sommelier Jeremy Prus and his team are just as happy helping you pick a bottle of something special to take away as they are walking you through the on-site wine list; for the best of both worlds, you can select something off the shelf and crack it open with your meal for a flat AUD $10 corkage.
With its crowded, low-lit tables and bare-bricked walls, Petition Kitchen is the trendy, boisterous bistro every group night out deserves. But don’t be fooled by its casual appearance – food is informed by a serious philosophy. Head chef Jesse Blake’s appreciation of rustic, simple share plates plays out in a menu heavy on both local and seasonal; watch as his energetic chefs churn out modern, satisfying crowd-pleasers like smoked peach hotcakes (breakfast), chopped broccoli with sheep’s feta (lunch) or Linley Valley pork knuckle with charred cabbage and molasses (dinner) from the open kitchen.
Next door find one of Australia’s most impressive beer collections at Petition Beer Corner, the perfect spot for a pre-dinner palate cleanser.